The annual Literacy Awareness Week, hosted by the Alpha Xi chapter of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, is in full swing this week at K-State.
“Literacy Week is a week to promote literature and reading, as well as have funds donated through our regional board, to regional Latino literature organizations,” Alba Chacon, community service chair of the Lambdas and senior in animal science and industry, said.
Starting yesterday, the Lambdas sold puppy chow for $2, as well as tickets to pie people in the face. At their table, they also had Latino literature and information about Latino literacy.
“There are [Latino] students out there who need help, but they can’t get the help because of state laws,” Eli Dawdy, president of the Lambdas and senior in elementary education, said. “I am most excited for [today’s] event. We are showing a film called ‘Immersion.’ It shows the journey of a Mexican boy through his experience with public schools in America. It shows how he is required to take a high-stakes, state test without the assistance of a teacher’s aid or anything. Since he doesn’t speak fluent English, he doesn’t understand what he is supposed to do.”
“Immersion” is a short 15-minute film that will be showed at 7:30 p.m. in the Cottonwood Room in the K-State Student Union. Following the film will be a discussion. Dawdy said she is excited to discuss the realities of the film for many Latino students, as well as share knowledge she has received to be a future English as a Second Language teacher.
On Wednesday, many of the sorority’s leaders have volunteered to get pied in the face in the Union Courtyard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each ticket can be bought for $1. The names of the leaders haven’t been released to build hype for the event. Even though the ticket has a cost, all of the money collected will be donated to a Latino literacy program in St. Louis, Mo.
A book sampling of Latino literature will be presented on Thursday, also in the Union Courtyard, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be enlarged quotes, poems and excerpts from Latino books on tag boards for those in the Union to see. From noon to 1 p.m., there will be an open mic event where audience members can read some of the excerpts, quotes or poems from the Latino literature.
On Friday the Lambdas will provide statistics and demographics of literacy rates inside and outside of the United States. This event will present the impact of the disparities among certain communities and regions of the world to the forefront of people’s minds here in Manhattan.
“We just want to continue to encourage people to donate throughout this week,” Dawdy said. “100 percent of the proceeds will be going to Latino literacy programs in St. Louis.”
Statistics suggest illiteracy is still a problem here in the U.S., and not just for Latinos or Latinas. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy cited in a Sept. 6 Huffington Post article found that 32 million adults, or around 14 percent of the population, can’t read. The same study found that 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a fifth grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read.
“There has been a lot of issues with immigration and social and political adjustments when Latinos come into the U.S.” Chacon said. “A lot of [Latino students] don’t know how to read or write in English when they come here. It’s very difficult to see these students struggle just to get nowhere. Teachers show these students how to do these things, how to try and how to succeed.”